‘Our focus is on expansion’

Even as the upcountry market mesmerizes almost all walks of IT sector,
Chennai-based TVSE is rigorously working its way towards ensuring maximum
penetration in the smaller city segment of the country. Zia Askari of CyberMedia
News spoke with S Narendran, GM, marketing, TVSE, about the company’s strategy
for the small city segment within India and its future plans.

What is TVSE’s current focus?
We have a clear focus on increasing our reach in the tier—2 and tier—3
cities of the country for all of our product range of DMPs, UPSs and keyboards.
We are now present in 44 territories of the country. At the start of this year
we had close to 2,500 channel partners all across the country. Now this figure
stands tall at around 3,700 partners. As we expand our base in smaller cities
and towns, we are looking forward to having more than 4,500 channel partners by
the end of this year, spread all over the country. At present, we have our
presence in about 360 towns and as we expand the market, we are looking forward
to adding another 100 towns to this list.

How different is the small city market from the big Indian metro markets?

S Narendran

Small city market dynamics are quite different from the big metros. While the
return on investment in small cities is almost instantaneous, finding the right
channel is a big problem. We have developed an internal system for segmentation
of channel partners. Firstly, we inform our partners about different market
trends and technologies and then engage them towards realizing the potential of
the market.

What are the challenges in developing markets in the C class cities?
There are a lot of instances where we have actually initiated the first IT
initiative in terms of signing up a partner in small places. So we are talking
about places that didn’t have any shop offering IT products. This kind of
scenario is very difficult and crucial to handle. We face a number of challenges
when it comes to increasing our market reach to smaller locations. The
expectation of price performance is completely different in smaller cities. We
need to have the right kind of mix in our offerings towards this customer
segment and at the same time we have very little time in which to do this. Lack
of service and support and logistics infrastructure is also one of the most
important issues for us. We also have to deal with the problem of demand
generation and brand building. We need completely different and innovative
marketing strategies for these developing markets. With the help of our
experience, we were able to understand one thing: that you need to communicate
trust towards your end customer in smaller cities and then understand how the
buying decisions are being made.

What kind of new products are you going to introduce in the market in the
coming months?
Since we are focusing heavily on expanding the markets in the small cities,
our offering in the corporate segment is not moving that fast. That’s why we
are focusing towards the services side for our existing 0.8 mn-printer base in
the corporate segment of the country. To enhance this segment, we will be
launching laser toner compatibles for different printer brands like HP, Canon
and Epson by the end of next month. We will also be launching our language
keyboard series by early December 2004.

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